Guwahati, March 21 (IANS): In a historic development in India's northeastern region, the first broad gauge freight train to Mizoram rolled into the Bhairabi station on Monday, officials said.
The train -- comprising 42 wagons loaded with food grain -- was received at 1 p.m. at Bhairabi station by Mizoram's Transport, Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister John Rotluangliana and state government and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials.
NFR Chief Public Relations Officer PJ Sharma said inspection by the Commissioner for Railway Safety would be completed soon and passenger trains would thereafter start plying regularly on the route.
The Katakhal-Bhairabi gauge conversion project is part of the Lumding-Silchar project.
The line starts from Katakhal station in Hailakandi district of Assam and continues for 82 km before entering Mizoram.
With Monday's train to Bhairabi, Mizoram becomes the third northeastern State after Tripura and Manipur to have broad gauge connectivity this financial year.
The NFR is targeting broad gauge connectivity to all capitals of the northeastern States by 2020.
"Work is going on in full swing for the new broad gauge track from Bhairabi to Sairang near Aizawl which is scheduled to be completed by March 2019," Sharma said.
NFR officials said there are 10 stations on the stretch between Katakhal to Bhairabi -- Algapur, Hailakandi, Monacherra, Lalabazar, Mahamadpur, Katlicherra, Manipur Bagan, Jamira, Ramnathpur and Bhairabi.
Built at an estimated cost of Rs 326.51 crore, the track has 52 curves -- the sharpest being seven degrees -- besides 16 major bridges and 161 minor bridges.